Last month, I mentioned that one of the prickly cosmetic things I want to do this year is get lip injections. I’ve done a heck of a lot of research on the procedure, but even though it’s not nearly as permanent as a tattoo, I’ve been dawdling.
The next thing I should probably do on my “needle list” is the Botox in the armpits, considering it’s only May and I’m already soaking wet under my clothing by the time I exit the subway in the morning. So in the meantime, as I wait to get my lips professionally plumped, I might as well try a few topical options.
I plan on using a hyaluronic-acid-based injectable when the time comes, but one of the lip-injection substances that has become less popular over the years is collagen. However, it’s still a very common ingredient in plumping glosses, such as the three I tested for this here article you’re reading.
SOAP & GLORY SEXY MOTHER PUCKER XL EXTREME PLUMP
This sort-of-chocolate-scented gloss uses three vague, all-caps components--LIPSWELL, SUPERFILL and VISIVOLUME--for its plumping capabilities. Of course, if you look at the actual ingredient list, none of these “words” show up there because they’re trademarked names for ingredient combinations.
Those exact combinations are a secret, but if I had to guess what’s doing the plumping work in this formula, I’d say its menthol, hexyl cinnamal, which is naturally found in chamomile essential oil, and a form of collagen called atelocollagen, which is derived from calf skin--so I guess it’s basically the collagen equivalent of veal? (Sorry, vegan friends, most collagen comes from animals.)
SMPXLEP, as this product will henceforth be known, promises to start making your lips tingle almost immediately after you apply it from the slant-y end of the tube (Anne-Marie calls it a “chisel tip,” and I’ll take her word for it), warning users that it’s “not for the meek of mouth.” It’s probably the hexyl cinnamal, which is known to be an irritant; irritation is the way a lot of plumping glosses do their thing (in addition to drawing water to the area with hyaluronic acid or, in these cases, collagen).
The tingling lasts for quite a while, but it goes away almost as soon as I wipe it off with a makeup remover towelette.
The results are subtle--I think it helped even out my lopsided upper lips--and it would work well under a non-matte color.
GLO MINERALS LIP PLUMPER
Also made with water-trapping spheres of atelocollagen--though reportedly derived from fishies this time--this gloss offers a “poutingly plump pucker,” which is unfortunate when “fuller lips” would’ve done the description trick.
Applied with a doe-foot applicator, it has an almost undetectable scent, which I appreciate; and I truly love the color I tried, Copper Shimmer.
In this case, the irritate-for-the-sake-of-plumping ingredient is capsicum from chili pepper. It causes more of a slow burn than an instant tingle, and I was surprised to find that the feeling continued long after I removed it.
Again, the results are pretty darn subtle, but I do really like the overall appearance.
PALLADIO PLUMP ‘N’ SHINE HERBAL PLUMPING LIP GLOSS
The soluble collagen found in Palladio’s lip plumper gets a helping hand from another ingredient found in a number of plumping glosses: peptides. Specifically, palmitoyl oligopeptide, which shows up in a lot of anti-aging products.
This was definitely the least irritating of the three, but also probably the least plumping.
If you’re looking for a lip-plumping gloss that comes in a ton of great colors, smells like cake frosting, doesn’t tingle, and also doesn’t really plump, then Plump ‘n’ Shine Gloss is the somewhat misleadingly named lip plumper for you! But hey, the "Shine" part is definitely true.
In the end, even though I want a subtle result from my lip injections, I want a more noticeable change than what these three glosses can offer. But if you're not bothered by the idea of animal-sourced collagen, and you want just a bit of a difference whenever you feel like it, one of these could be a great option for you.